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Weekly News Digest

August 12, 2021 — In addition to this week's NewsBreaks article and the monthly NewsLink Spotlight, Information Today, Inc. (ITI) offers Weekly News Digests that feature recent product news and company announcements. Watch for additional coverage to appear in the next print issue of Information Today. For other up-to-the-minute news, check out ITIís Twitter account: @ITINewsBreaks.

CLICK HERE to view more Weekly News Digest items.

ALA Applauds Senate Approval of the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act

ALA president Patty Wong released the following statement after “the passage of the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act (H.R. 3684), a bipartisan infrastructure bill, by the U.S. Senate, which would provide critical funding for libraries to expand high-speed broadband service and provide digital skills training to patrons.” Wong notes:

The Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act recognizes libraries as key partners in advancing digital equity. For decades, libraries have filled learning gaps, especially for groups new to the internet or those with additional challenges to feeling confident online, including those from low-income households, older adults and English language learners. …

It will be critical that libraries collaborate with state and local partners to implement this historic expansion of high-speed internet service for libraries and library patrons. Elected officials and leaders across the country understand the value of libraries, and library leaders must continue to work with them to expand the reach and effectiveness of library resources and programming.

For more information, read the press release.

Clarivate Plans Later Deadline for ProQuest Acquisition to Accommodate FTC Probe

Gary Price shares a Law360 article via INFOdocket that discusses a delay of the Clarivate acquisition of ProQuest. It states, “Clarivate PLC said [Aug. 9] it was pushing back the deadline for its planned $5.3 billion buyout of ProQuest because of an in-depth Federal Trade Commission [FTC] probe and will rework part of the [deal’s] financing as a result of the delay. … Although the Company hopes to be in a position to complete the proposed Acquisition in the second half of 2021, the Company and the Seller Group each have the option to extend the new outside date to April 29, 2022.”

For more information, read the blog post.

AP Shares Alarming News About the Worsening Threat of Climate Change

Seth Borenstein writes the following in “‘Code Red’: UN Scientists Warn of Worsening Global Warming” for the Associated Press (AP):

Earth is getting so hot that temperatures in about a decade will probably blow past a level of warming that world leaders have sought to prevent, according to a report released [Aug. 9, 2021] that the United Nations called a ‘code red for humanity.’ …

The authoritative Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, which calls climate change clearly human-caused and “unequivocal” and “an established fact,” makes more precise and warmer forecasts for the 21st century than it did last time it was issued in 2013.

Each of five scenarios for the future, based on how much carbon emissions are cut, passes the more stringent of two thresholds set in the 2015 Paris climate agreement. World leaders agreed then to try to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above levels in the late 19th century because problems mount quickly after that. The world has already warmed nearly 1.1 degrees Celsius (2 degrees Fahrenheit) since then.

Under each scenario, the report said, the world will cross the 1.5-degree-Celsius warming mark in the 2030s, earlier than some past predictions. Warming has ramped up in recent years, data shows. …

With crucial international climate negotiations coming up in Scotland in November, world leaders said the report is causing them to try harder to cut carbon pollution. U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken called it ‘a stark reminder.’

For more information, read the article.

Information Organizations Join Forces to Build Up Vaccine Confidence in Local Communities

A group of stakeholders in the information professional space are teaming up for Communities for Immunity, “an unprecedented partnership to boost COVID-19 vaccine confidence in communities across the United States.” Led by the Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC), with collaboration from IMLS, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), ALA, and the Network of the National Library of Medicine (NNLM), Communities for Immunity will offer funding that will help museums, libraries, science centers, and other cultural institutions improve vaccine confidence at the local level by providing evidence-driven materials and developing resources, programs, and approaches designed to reach diverse audiences.

“As we continue to see the Delta variant spread across the country, we must come together to fight health misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine—the best tool we have to defeat this virus,” says U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy. “Museums and libraries are the vaults that hold our knowledge and history. They educate us on the discoveries and blunders of our past. That’s the foundation upon which Communities for Immunity will equip the American people with accurate, reliable, science-based information. This partnership comes at a crucial time. We need more trusted messengers who let science lead, as they help Americans make informed health decisions for our families.”

For more information, read the press release.

'Apple's Descent From Privacy Hero to Privacy Villain' by Adam Dick

Adam Dick writes the following for Eurasia Review:

In 2016, I, along with some other privacy advocates including writer and commentator Andrew Napolitano, was applauding Apple Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Tim Cook for standing up for privacy and the United States Constitution in a situation that pitted his company against the power of the United States government and the desire of many Americans to seek information related to a mass shooting. Five years later, Apple has decided that, in the name of countering child pornography, it will throw privacy protection for all its customers out the window.

The company has disclosed that it plans to routinely and without even a basis for suspicion search through its customers’ electronic information in an effort to uncover child pornography or images of child sexual abuse. Further, Apple will then, based on the results of the snooping, disable customers’ accounts and inform the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children regarding what was found. …

Apple now is volunteering to create this new surveillance system that will systematically violate the privacy of all its customers. It is preparing to become a full-fledged member of the surveillance state. At least back in 2016 the FBI had to provide evidence and go through a court to try to make Apple help it search for information on a particular phone. The old Apple stood up to that threat to privacy. The new Apple, in contrast, is preparing to surveille all its customers’ information routinely.

For more information, read the article.

APA Chimes In After the Release of a Concerning Climate Change Report

Jennifer F. Kelly, president of the American Psychological Association (APA), released the following statement in response to a climate change report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change:

Psychology has long recognized that human behaviors are a chief cause of the climate change that is wreaking havoc on our planet and imperiling humanity’s future. Psychology as a discipline is well-suited to address these behaviors and design strategies to make the changes that are so desperately needed. Psychological scientists stand ready to work shoulder-to-shoulder with other scientists, policymakers and communities to develop these strategies and implement them before it is too late.

For the rest of the statement, read the press release.

OCLC Will Develop Resources to Help Libraries Facing the Opioid Epidemic

OCLC received National Leadership Grant funding from IMLS to create “a set of free online resources that staff at public libraries can use to determine how their library can address opioid use disorder in their local communities.” These resources—launching in September 2021—include strategies, tools, and content that will guide libraries, especially rural ones, as they decide how they can help meet community needs. Libraries can use them to assess their staff for its strengths and capacity, identify local partners for collaboration, and plan and implement an initiative that can help end the opioid crisis.

“While our primary focus has been on the COVID-19 pandemic, the opioid epidemic continues to devastate families, neighbors, and entire communities,” says Skip Prichard, OCLC’s president and CEO. “The resources created by this project are intended to help individual libraries determine the best course of action to help those in need.”

For more information, read the press release.

EveryLibrary Reports on Libraries Without Borders' Current Effort to Bridge the Digital Divide

EveryLibrary shares the following in “Bridging the Digital Divide One Load of Laundry at a Time” from its Medium account:

Libraries are coming up with innovative solutions for reaching out to people all over the community. Their new strategies take into consideration the different types of situations people may be facing when it comes to access to things like books, the internet, and other educational resources. Recently, Libraries Without Borders came up with an idea to address this need for patrons by meeting them where they’re at in the community: laundromats! …

Libraries Without Borders is a nonprofit organization that is working on behalf of underserved communities to increase access to information. … This initiative stemmed from a need to provide digital and literary access to people in the community that may have barriers in accessing their local libraries. The goal is to transform over 30,000 laundromats in the United States into digital learning communities. The Wash and Learn Initiative (WALI) gives families the resources they need in a space they commonly visit.

This was a great place to start reaching the community for multiple reasons. Families usually wash their clothes on a weekly or biweekly basis which means they are consistently visiting these places. In addition, doing laundry comes with a long wait time and families are usually spending an hour and a half just washing and drying clothes. Laundromats are also easily accessible because their operating hours are much longer than public libraries with some even being open 24/7.

For more information, read the article.

UKRI Implements New OA Policy

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) introduced a new OA policy that “will increase opportunity for the findings of publicly funded research to be accessed, shared and reused.” The policy “requires immediate open access for peer-reviewed research articles submitted for publication from 1 April 2022. … It also includes a new requirement for monographs, book chapters and edited collections published from 1 January 2024 to be made open access within 12 months of publication.” To support this new policy, UKRI will provide funding of up to £46.7 million (about $64.7 million) per year.

Frontiers’ chief executive editor, Frederick Fenter, issued the following statement in response to UKRI’s policy:

UKRI’s announcement that all peer-reviewed research articles resulting from its funding must be universally available on the day of publication is a significant milestone for the open-science movement. This new requirement, which many of us have been supporting for years, stands to benefit people everywhere and attests to the progress and impact of open-access funding mandates, especially Plan S, in recent years.

The decision paves the way for greater cooperation and scientific discovery, ultimately enabling progress in helping find solutions to the other great challenges of our day, climate change, disease, food sustainability, energy systems, and more. Open science saves lives. That message has become increasingly profound over the last 18-months, with the rapid and free dissemination of research and data around COVID-19 resulting in the fastest vaccine development in human history.

For more information, read the news item.

EveryLibrary Sponsors 5K Your Way for Libraries

EveryLibrary opened registration for its 5K Your Way for Libraries event. It aims to raise $50,000 “to ensure stable funding and access to libraries for generations to come” and runs from Sept. 26 to Oct. 2, 2021. Participants can do whatever they want, wherever they want—“5 kilometers of walking and running? 5 thousand seconds of reading? 5 thousand jumping jacks? It’s up to you! Do it ‘your way,’ and invite friends and family to join you in fundraising for EveryLibrary to continue to provide its library-saving work.” Once registered, participants can form a team, join a team, or join as an individual.

For more information, visit the webpage.



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